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Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

It Happened at the Ball!

My fellow Book View Cafe author Sherwood Smith has organized a new anthology:

cover art for IT HAPPENED AT THE BALL

The pleasure of your company is requested.

Graceful feet tracing courtly steps.
Eyes in jeweled masks meeting across a room of twirling dancers.
Gloved hands touching fleetingly–or gripping swords . . .

Anything can happen at a ball.

You are invited to enjoy stories of fancy and fantasy from thirteen authors, framed in the splendor and elegance of a ballroom. Be it at a house party for diplomats and thieves, or Almacks in a side-universe in which the Patronesses have magic, or a medieval festival just after the plague years . . .

Prepare to be swept into the enchantment of the dance!

Featuring stories from myself, Marissa Doyle, Sara Stamey, Charlotte Gumanaam, Irene Radford, Gillian Polack, Deborah J. Ross, Francesca Forrest, Lynne April Brown, P.G. Nagle, Brenda Clough, Layla Lawlor, and Sherwood Smith herself. My contribution is a reprint of “The Şiret Mask.” You can pick up the ebook now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Apple Books, or get it in trade paperback instead!

Story notes

Here’s a thing I’m a little proud of.

Reviews for Maps to Nowhere and Ars Historica have commented on my approach to story notes — not just the content thereof, but the way I put them into the book.

This was an idea I had when I published Monstrous Beauty a few years ago — a way to accommodate the different opinions on and approaches to short stories and their associated notes. It only works in ebook; in fact, it leverages the advantages of the form.

I put all the story notes at the end of the book, so you can ignore them if you want to, jump to them using the ebook’s table of contents if you like to read them first, or encounter them in due course after you’re done with everything else. But the real advantage comes if you’re the sort of person who likes to read the notes immediately before of after the story. (I’ll be honest; I don’t understand reading the notes first. But some people do, and who am I to tell them they’re having the wrong kind of fun.) At the end of each piece I put a link to the notes — and not one of those tiny footnote links that are almost impossible to tap, either, but a nice big line of text. That takes you to the relevant section at the end of the book . . . and then, when you reach the end of a given note, you have two links: “Return to story” or “Read next story.” So if you haven’t read it yet or you want to look back at it in light of what the notes have said, you can easily do that, without having to pull up the table of contents. And if you want to continue onward, you can do that, too.

It’s a minor thing overall — a little bit of convenience in navigation. But judging by the numbers of reviews I’ve seen that mention the approach to notes and linkage as a positive aspect, it works exactly as well as I hoped it would. And that pleases me.

Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction

People sometimes say a writer is supposed to love all their literary children equally, but the truth is that we’re inevitably more proud of some stories than others. Among the fifty or so short stories I’ve sold, one of my favorites is “Daughter of Necessity,” which (as you can see at that link) got utterly gorgeous artwork from the folks at Tor.com — gorgeous enough that a print hangs at the top of the staircase down to our den.

It’s been reprinted twice, once in the 2014 Tor.com anthology, and once in the Book View Cafe collection Nevertheless, She Persisted (for which we’ll be doing an event at Borderlands Books on February 10th — look for more details on that soon!) And now it’s going to be reprinted again, in another Tor.com title, Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction. I’m more pleased than I can say that with ten years of short fiction to choose from — including award winners — “Daughter of Necessity” made the cut as one of the forty tales they’ll be including in this lovely hardcover volume. Check out that link for the full Table of Contents and options for pre-ordering! It will be out in September of this year, for the tenth anniversary of the site.

This short story GOES UP TO ELEVEN

I recently finished my first short story of the year, which doesn’t yet have a title I am satisfied with, but which is destined for publication in Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters II, once the Kickstarter behind that link successfully funds. (It’s a quarter of the way there after one day, so odds are good.)

Drafting the story was interesting, because it’s been a while since I wrote something where my constant reminder to myself was GO BIGGER. In some ways “The Şiret Mask” last year, I suppose, but that was more caper-style ridiculousness. When it comes to sheer world-wrecking destruction, I think I have to go all the way back to In Ashes Lie, with its Great Fire and the battle between Prigurd and the Dragon in St. Paul’s Cathedral. But when the theme of your antho is kaiju, well, sheer world-wrecking destruction is very nearly an entry requirement.

(“Very nearly” because you could probably write a really interesting story about kaiju not trashing cities — something much quieter and more personal — and in fact I hope somebody in the lineup for this anthology does so. But that story is not my story.)

As for my story: it’s riffing off the microsetting I wrote for Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters, which was called “The Grand Prize,” and is basically what happens when somebody hands me the prompt “kaiju and mecha” and my brain immediately pairs that with high school science fairs. The short story takes place at the Twentieth Annual Metzger-Patel Genius Prize tournament, and that’s all I’ll say right now — except to remind you that if you want to read a story about teenaged robotics and bioengineering competitions gone massively overboard, you should back the Kickstarter today!

The past and the future

cover art for ARS HISTORICA by Marie BrennanThe past: Ars Historica is on sale now!

The past is prologue . . .

Kit Marlowe. Guy Fawkes. Ada Lovelace. Kings and sailors and sainted nuns populate these seven stories of historical fantasy by award-winning author Marie Brennan. They span the ages from the second century B.C.E. to the nineteenth century C.E., from ancient Persia to the London of the Onyx Court. Discover the secret histories, hear the stories that have never been told — until now.

The future: if you are able to vote today, please do.

Ars Historica is now available for pre-order!

In ye olden days of publishing, short fiction tended to have a half-life of about .17 seconds. If you didn’t read it in the magazine issue where it was published, too bad; the issue went off the shelves, and unless you stumbled across it later or the story was reprinted in a “best of” or single-author collection, you might never see it again.

cover art for ARS HISTORICA by Marie BrennanBut with ebooks, that doesn’t have to happen, because collections are so much easier to do now. I’m pleased to say that Maps to Nowhere has been selling splendidly since it came out last month; next month it will be joined by Ars Historica, which collects my historical fiction and historical fantasy. I have more of these planned, too, but they’ll take a while — I have a wordcount range I’m aiming for in each collection, in order to make them roughly novella-sized, and the other three I’ve got planned all require me to sell another two stories or so (and then wait for those stories’ exclusivity periods to expire).

In the meanwhile, here’s the Table of Contents for Ars Historica, which you can pre-order from a variety of places here!

Table of Contents

MAPS TO NOWHERE is out now!

cover art for MAPS TO NOWHERE by Marie Brennan

Follow the map to another world . . .

Two cities joined by their reflections. A realm of feathered serpents and jaguar-men. A desert where a former goddess seeks the ultimate truth. In this collection, award-winning author Marie Brennan takes you to ten different fantastical lands, including the world of her famed scholar-heroine Lady Trent. Journey with her to places rich and strange: here there be more than just dragons.

The pre-order wait is over! Maps to Nowhere is now on sale at all the following fine retailers:

Nevertheless, a whole lot of us persisted

cover art for Nevertheless, She Persisted; ed. Mindy KlaskyYesterday saw the release of Nevertheless, She Persisted. There are many things with that title these days, but this one is mine — well, mine and that of eighteen other authors from Book View Cafe. It is, as you might expect, a collection themed around female persistence in the face of adversity. If you feel like you need that sort of encouragement right now, or you know someone who might, or you want to support the general idea, or you just think that sounds like something you would like to read, you can get the ebook directly from Book View Cafe, or from Amazon, Nook, iTunes, Kobo, or Amazon UK; if you want a print edition, those are available too, from Amazon US or UK.

My contribution to the anthology is “Daughter of Necessity”, which is one of the stories I’m proudest of having written. It was inspired by an essay of Diana Wynne Jones’, and of course she herself is the woman whose work inspired me to become a writer in the first place.

It’s been six months since Elizabeth Warren was silenced on the floor of the Senate. Keep on speaking out. Persist. We will stand strong.

    Table of Contents

  • “Daughter of Necessity” by Marie Brennan
  • “Sisters” by Leah Cutter
  • “Unmasking the Ancient Light” by Deborah J. Ross
  • “Alea Iacta Est” by Marissa Doyle
  • “How Best to Serve” from A Call to Arms by P.G. Nagle
  • “After Eden” by Gillian Polack
  • “Reset” by Sara Stamey
  • “A Very, Wary Christmas” by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
  • “Making Love” by Brenda Clough
  • “Den of Iniquity” by Irene Radford
  • “Digger Lady” by Amy Sterling Casil
  • “Tumbling Blocks” by Mindy Klasky
  • “The Purge” by Jennifer Stevenson
  • “If It Ain’t Broke” by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
  • “Chatauqua” by Nancy Jane Moore
  • “Bearing Shadows” by Dave Smeds
  • “In Search of Laria” by Doranna Durgin
  • “Tax Season” by Judith Tarr
  • “Little Faces” by Vonda N. McIntyre